My Life as an Intern: Farewell and Thank You

Hi, it’s Candace Pine here again – and for the final time. Today marks the last day of my internship at the Miami University Special Collections and Archives. I have finished up my required internship hours, and I will be graduating from Kent State University with my MLIS degree in just a couple of weeks. I have to admit, though, that I am quite sad to see this internship end. I’ve had the opportunity to learn a lot, meet wonderful people, and to work with all kinds of different and interesting materials. And I certainly feel like I am much more prepared to start my career in this field now that I have had this experience. So I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who helped me and supported me during this internship – to Bill Modrow and Justin Bridges for teaching me and guiding me through this process, to all of the staff and student workers here at the Special Collections and Archives for helping me whenever I needed it and for making this a great environment to work in, and to the librarians in the Art & Architecture Library, B.E.S.T. Library, and Amos Music Library for giving me a tour of their libraries, talking to me about their careers, and giving me advice. I appreciate it all very much.

As for you, readers, I hope you have enjoyed following my journey through this internship. Hopefully you found my blog posts to be interesting, informative, and perhaps a bit entertaining. And please continue to keep up with what is going on here in Special Collections and Archives. There are always interesting things going on and exciting materials to discover!  

If you want to keep up with me, one of the last things I learned during my internship was how to set up my own website using Omeka, and I have already created a few small digital exhibits there. I hope to be able to continue to add new content in the future, as well, so if you’d like to check the site out it can be found here: http://candacenpine.omeka.net/.  

Thanks again!

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Preservation Week 2018

 

     April 22 – April 28, 2018

 

PRESERVATION WEEK

In celebration of Preservation Week 2018, please stop and take a look at the display case located just outside the entry doors to the Walter Havighurst Special Collections & University Archives.  Preservation Week was established by the Association for Library Collections & Technology Services (ALCTS), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), as a means of encouraging institutions to highlight what we can do, individually and together, to preserve our personal and shared collections.

Why is preservation important?

In 2005 the first comprehensive national survey of the condition and preservation needs of the nation’s collections reported that U.S. institutions hold more than 4.8 billion items. Libraries alone hold 3 billion items (63 percent of the whole). A treasure trove of uncounted additional items is held by individuals, families, and communities.

Some 630 million items in collecting institutions require immediate attention and care. Eighty percent of these institutions have no paid staff assigned responsibility for collections care; 22 percent have no collections care personnel at all. Some 2.6 billion items are not protected by an emergency plan. As natural disasters of recent years have taught us, these resources are in jeopardy should a disaster strike. Personal, family, and community collections are equally at risk.

Key environmental factors that place collections at risk:

  • Light: Ultraviolet rays from natural and artificial sources can cause fading and disintegration.
  • Pollutants: Dust is abrasive and can accelerate harmful chemical reactions.
  • Heat: High temperatures can accelerate deterioration.
  • Moisture: High humidity promotes mold growth, corrosion, and degradation, while excessive dryness can cause drying and cracking. Fluctuations between extremes can cause warping, buckling, and flaking.

Key items that should be preserved

Historical materials that are unpublished and one-of-a-kind, such as:

  • architectural drawings
  • artifacts
  • audio and video recordings
  • diaries
  • genealogical information
  • letters
  • maps
  • memoirs/reminiscences
  • minutes/reports
  • photo albums and photographs
  • printed materials
  • professional and business papers
  • speeches/lectures

Preservation Fast Facts

  • More than 4.8 billion artifacts are held in public trust by more than 30,000 archives, historical societies, libraries, museums, scientific research collections, and archaeological repositories in the United States. 1.3 billion of these items are at risk of being lost.
  • Roughly 70% of institutions need additional conservation or preservation training for their staff and volunteers.
  • A majority of collecting institutions, more than 80%, do not have a disaster plan in place that can be executed by trained staff.
  • Nearly a quarter of all the 21 million paintings, sculptures, and works of decorative art in U.S. collections need conservation treatment or improved care and conditions.
  • More than 50% of collecting institutions have had their collections damaged by light.
  • More than 65% of collecting institutions report damage to their collections due to improper storage.

*Source: “A Public Trust at Risk: The Heritage Health Index Report on the State of America’s Collections,” Library of Congress. For additional information regarding Preservation Week, please visit www.ala.org/preservationweek.

 

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My Life as an Intern: More Fun With Exhibits

Hello, my name is Candace Pine – current intern here in the Steward and Sustain department – and I have something fun to share with you today. Recently, I discovered the English Toy Theatre collection that is housed here in Special Collections, and I fell in love with it. And, being the theater aficionado that I am (side note: buying those Broadway season tickets for the Aronoff Center was one of the best decisions I ever made!), I couldn’t help but want to show off the Pollock’s Toy Theatre as soon as I found it. So I decided to create a little exhibit for it in our reading room. Unfortunately, the wooden theater set that we have is too large to fit in the display case, but I was able to incorporate photos I took of the theatre (with set dressings from the play Treasure Island) into the display I created. So I’m still very happy with how things turned out. And if you want to check out my display in-person please feel free to stop by the reading room!  

Pollock’s Toy Theatre with set dressing from Treasure Island 

Close up of set dressing from Treasure Island

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English Toy Theatre: Bring Your Favorite Stories to Life!

During the 1800s, Benjamin Pollock sold the Toy Theater as a craft hobby for children. Each toy theater play came with printed sheets that featured characters and settings for that particular play, which children would cut out and use to stage the plays in little wooden theaters. Each toy theater play set even came with a short script for the children to use to act out the story.

The idea for the Toy Theater likely was a result of the popularity of theatrical prints that were sold in London near Theater Row in the 1800s. The Toy Theater no doubt opened up a new market for London printmakers to sell their theatrical prints too – children. This can be seen by the fact that the plays featured in Pollock’s Toy Theater often reflected the types of plays that were popular on stage at the time.

Interest in Toy Theater eventually waned, with Pollock being one of the last Toy Theater merchants. After his passing, his inventory of printed sheets and printing plates was purchased by Marguerite Fawdry. She used the materials to found the Pollock’s Toy Museum in the 1950s, and the museum still exists in London to this day.    

Pollock’s Toy Theatre display 

Close up of character cut outs for Aladdin or The Wonderful Lamp

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My Life as an Intern: Creating an Exhibit

Hello, it’s Candace Pine here again – intern in the Steward and Sustain department. I’m very excited to share with you that I have put together a small exhibit, which is currently residing in one of the display cases in our reading room. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of putting this exhibit together from start to finish, and I hope that soon I may be able to turn it into a digital exhibit as well. However, in the meantime, please feel free to stop by and check out the display in person!

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Tourism the Old-Fashioned Way: Travel Guides to England and Scotland

Planning a trip to a new place, either to a new country, or within one’s own country, used to be a very different experience from what we are used to today. In a time way before the internet, how did people find out about places they had never been to? They consulted books. Many travel guidebooks were published during the 1800s, and they contained information about places of interest that people might want to visit, plus included drawings or photographs of certain locations that were featured in the guidebooks. Sometimes guidebooks were even framed as a story of someone’s travels through a certain region. And those kinds of resources were often all that people had to go on when making plans for a trip.

Map of London, The Shell Guide to Britain, Shell-Mex and B.P. Limited, 1964

Oban, Nelson’s Hand-Books for Tourists: Oban, Staffa, and Iona, T. Nelson, 1859 (left); Interior of Roslyn Chapel, Scotland Illustrated, William Beattie, 1838 (upper right); Postcards

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Today, old travel guidebooks may not be of much use to actual travellers, but they are not worthless. They contain a great deal of interesting historical information, and some wonderful artwork. The items featured in this exhibit highlight England and Scotland in particular, and showcase why those countries have attracted so many visitors over the years.

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My Life as an Intern: Putting Our Stars on Display

Hello, it’s Candace Pine again, intern here in the Steward and Sustain department, and lover of old and beautiful books. I’m continuing to enjoy my time working here, and I wanted to share another fun experience with you.

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Recently, the department was hosting a small reception. The University Archivist put together a great display about Freedom Summer in the reading room, but one table in the corner was left open so that some of the most popular (and some of the most expensive) items from special collections could be displayed to visitors. It’s always nice to be able to showcase some of the treasures that are housed here, so our Library Associate, Justin, pulled some materials and then gave me the freedom to display them however I liked. I’ve been wanting to but together a little exhibit for a while now, so I was very excited about this, even though it was only going to be a very temporary display. At least it was a chance to get my feet wet, right? So I looked over the materials that Justin had brought out and, needless to say, I wanted to include pretty much everything. But setting books out on display takes up a fair amount of room. So a one-table display quickly became a two-tables display. And that actually gave us a little bit of extra room, so Justin and I went back and got some more things. I grabbed a couple of artist’s books, and he picked out some postcards from our extensive postcard collection, as well as a signed football and a Cradle of Coaches playbook. Then I laid everything out in a way that would allow people to easily be able to view at least one item, no matter where they were standing around the tables, and then the display was ready to go.

Shown below are some photos of the materials that I arranged on display. They include items such as: a leaf from a Gutenberg Bible, a Shakespeare first folio, a book of hours, a book with marbled endpages, a Bible with two different fore-edge paintings, letters written by George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, postcards, artist’s books, and more. I hope you enjoy getting to see them. And if you want to see anything in-person, please feel free to stop by!  

            

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My Life as an Intern: The Lost Art of Letter Writing

Hello, my name is Candace Pine, and you may remember from my last blog post that I am interning here in the Steward and Sustain department while I’m pursuing my MLIS degree at Kent State University. I wanted to continue sharing the things I’m learning about and experiencing during my internship, so you can look forward to hearing more from me in the future!

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For the past few weeks I’ve been working on item-level indexing for a collection of materials related to the Miami University – University of Reading Exchange Program. For those of you who don’t know, for a time the Philosophy department here at Miami worked out a faculty exchange program with the Philosophy department at University of Reading, which is located in England. And for those of you who also don’t know, item-level indexing means that you go through every single item in a collection and write a brief description of it that basically could be used to explain what the item is to a person who can’t actually see the item. Well, actually I did that. I wrote 31 pages worth of item-level description; you just get to read about it. Lucky you! But in all seriousness, this has been an interesting experience. I was able to practice my indexing skills, and I got to learn about the Miami University – University of Reading Exchange Program.

The reason why I wrote pages and pages of descriptions for this collection is because it is mostly made up of correspondence, so there was a lot of material to go through. The exchange program started in the 1980s, so various representatives from both universities had to write a lot of letters back and forth to each other to make arrangements (financial, living, teaching, etc.) for the instructors who participated in the exchange. So I read at least parts of all of those letters. And that made me really appreciate the art of letter writing, which is something that I feel is quickly fading away in our society today. As I read through all sorts of letters I came to see how different they are from the way we communicate today through email. The letters often had a more formal tone (even after the correspondents wrote to each other for months, or even years), and the writers would take care to add extra little details like commenting on something interesting that was going on with them, or taking the time to ask after the well-being of the recipient and their family. Writing a letter and sending it either to or from England took time, and so the writers wanted to make sure that their letters were worth it. Nowadays, business communications such as these seem to be much shorter and to the point. Now that we can communicate with each other in an instantaneous manner, we don’t feel the need to write anything elaborate anymore. I see this happen all the time in the course of my job. I can’t even begin to count the number of emails I’ve received that are only one or two sentences long and written very casually (yes, I see grammar, capitalization, and punctuation go right out the window). However, there’s nothing wrong with trying to be more efficient in our communications. As time passed and I saw the correspondents from Miami and Reading move from writing letters to writing emails, I instantly noticed how much shorter and to the point their messages were. And like I said, there’s nothing wrong with that. But it did make me feel a bit nostalgic for the days when people would take the time to write letters to each other (for business or other reasons). And as I thought about it, it also made me realize that I hardly ever physically write anything anymore – most of my communications happen via email and texting now. So I wonder what those letter writers from Miami and Reading think about how much technology has changed the way we communicate with each other. And it makes me wonder how much things will continue to change in the future. Another 20 or 30 years from now we may communicate in totally new ways, and future archivists will look at our emails and text messages and think of them as being outdated forms of communication. It’s a strange thought, but I’m sure it will happen!

 
Letter from Michael Goldman to Edmund Burke, March 18, 1988

Email from William McKenna to Michael Proudfoot (Yes, I think of Lord of the Rings every time I type his name), February 9, 1998

 

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